Monday, February 21, 2011

Mr. Feesh

He's a betta. And his name is Michael Phelps.
He is our first pet, and we love him.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Some stories

I'm finally getting around to publishing some stories written last semester for my magazine writing class. This one is about landslides in North Vancouver, and I spoke with several officials as well as residents who experienced a landslide outside their backdoor in 2005.

Typing out this story on blogger is a bit tedious, so I've linked to my website where you can find the story.

Click here:


The second story is true, though it is hard to believe and perhaps may be difficult to read without feeling uneasy for some. I wrote it under anonymity, meaning that the subjects are real but their names are not. This mother is fighting to protect her daughter from an abusive father, and it shows her struggles and successes in doing so.

Click here:

On deaf ears

These stories are very dear to my heart and I am extremely glad to have been able to write them and edit them with the help of one of my instructors. Please leave any comments as they are much appreciated.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Laugh until we think we'll die.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Book 10

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

In my teenage angst years I made two attempts at reading this novel. They were inconclusive - I never finished the 601 pages and felt my brain swollen from too much information. But finally, a few years later and with a new understanding for great literature, I've managed to read (and enjoy) East of Eden.

John Steinbeck's writing is absolutely eloquent: there are words in this novel I've never seen or heard before and I had a dictionary at hand for many nights of reading. But mostly I find it incredible at his development of characters. Regardless of a large or small part in the novel, each character is well-developed; Joe Valery, an escaped convict and bodyguard at the neighbourhood whorehouse, even has a story. And while Steinbeck doesn't take away too much from the main characters, he is able to tell Joe's story well enough to have us show interest. Also, the overall uniformity between East of Eden and the story of the brothers Cain and Abel (a biblical tale) is so well done that throughout East of Eden there is a yearning from certain characters to belong and to be accepted. Some are and succeed, others aren't and fail, and vice versa.

There are so many quotes I could pull from the novel. One section in particular focuses on introducing Cathy Ames, the antagonist throughout and in the lives of the Hamilton and Trask families. But instead of describing first her appearance and demeanor, he writes about his opinion of evil in order to give an understanding of the particular evil of Cathy.

"I believe there are monsters born into he world to human parents. Some you can see, misshapen and horrible, with huge heads or tiny bodies; some are born with no arms, no legs, some with three arms, some with tails or mouths in odd places. They are accidents and no one's fault, as used to be thought. Once they were considered the visible punishments for concealed sins.
And just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or a malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?
Monsters are variations from the accepted normal to a greater or a less degree. As a child may be born without an arm, so one may be born without kindness or the potential of conscience. A man who loses his arm in an accident has a great struggle to adjust himself to the lack, but one born without arms suffers only from people who find him strange. Having never had arms, he cannot miss them. Sometimes when we are little we imagine how it would be to have wings, but there is no reason to suppose it is the same feeling birds have. No, to a monster the norm must seem monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself. To the inner monster it must be even more obscure, since he has no visible thing to compare with others. To a man born without conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.
It is my belief that Cathy Ames was born with the tendencies..."

I've read many books and a few have inspired me to write better, to explore my imagination and express that imagination in a story. But Steinbeck, as of now, has to be on top of those inspiring authors. If not for the story itself, for the way to which he delivers it. Read it, you won't be at all disappointed, provided that you can stick with the 600 pages.

** 10 books read on my 25 before 25 list. I need to pick up the pace. **

Sunday, February 6, 2011

to the evening star

Tonight, for the first time since the late summer, I can see the stars out my window. There are no clouds, no buildings obstructing my view. So, I found a poem I like about the stars, in hopes that you too may like it.

Though fair-haired angel of the evening,
Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light
Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown
Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!
Smile on our loves, and while thou drawest the
Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew
On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes
In timely sleep. Let thy west wing sleep on
The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes,
And wash the dusk with silver, Soon, full soon,
Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide,
And the lion glares through the dun forest.
The fleeces of our flocks are covered with
Thy sacred dew; protect them with thine influence.

- William Blake

Thursday, February 3, 2011

little observations

From time to time I notice little things. Things on public transit, things on the streets, a conversation between two people. And from time to time I like to write about these little things as they are often things that stick with me, that make me smile inside.

Yesterday, crammed on the SkyTrain heading to school during rush hour, an elderly couple made an attempt to squish onto the train. They held onto one another tightly and with much perseverance managed to get on the train before the doors closed behind them. The husband's hair was gelled back, thin and gray. He grabbed onto a nearby bar for stability as the train began to move. His wife, who had the most immaculate curls, held tightly around his arm. He was holding her steady.

"It's like sardines in a can," joked the husband. The wife giggled in response like a little school girl on the playground.

I make these small observations because I feel there are things out there that are often so simple, yet so gratifying. There's a lot to be said for a husband and wife, moving closer to their mid-80s, who are still able to look as though they share so much love, who have a sort of invisible fire between them. It's uplifting.
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